Offering well-designed watches from a reputed Swiss company at reasonable prices seems to be a winning strategy for Longines. Introduced in 2019, the Longines Master Collection Moonphase watch continues this story, with a policy of keeping Longines in the price segment that it dominates (700 to 3,500 Swiss francs) even with complications. Available in two sizes (40mm and 42mm), the moon phase model come with a range of different dials, including one with diamond indices. Today, we’ll be looking at the 42mm Master Collection Moonphase with a handsome blue sunray dial, the most contemporary-looking of the lot with its on-trend colour scheme and simple but elegant dial.
The Master Collection was launched in 2005, a collection of elegant classics with various complications ranging in complexity. Unlike the extremely popular Heritage Collection that references specific vintage models and revisits them with an earnest respect for the past, the Master Collection references traditional watchmaking codes with casual, elegant good looks. After all, not everybody wants a retro remake or a vintage-inspired watch. For many buyers, a simple classic watch for daily wear from a reputable watchmaker with a small complication and an affordable price tag is just what the watch doctor ordered.
The moon phase models joined the repertoire in 2019 adding to the existing line-up of three-hand-and-date, day/date, power reserve, chronographs, annual calendar models all the way up to sophisticated calendar chronograph combinations.
Moon phase and pointer date
The dial is blue with a lovely sunray finish emanating its subtle rays from the centre. Sunray or sunburst means dials with a texture similar to brushed metal, which is known for its chameleonic ability to catch the light. A moon phase complication is not an essential feature for daily life; it is more of a poetic reminder of the waxing and waning of our neighbouring satellite. The golden moon and accompanying stars appear in an aperture at 6 o’clock, a traditional location for this kind of complication.
The feature I most enjoy about this model is the pointer date. Instead of disrupting the dial with an aperture for the date, this simplest of complications is handled in the simplest and most discreet way possible and arranged around the moon phase counter. The numbers 1 – 31 are picked out in white and indicated by a silver hand.
The fact that this model does not rely on Roman hour numerals gives it a more contemporary air. The dial features long baton-style applied indices with a slightly thicker marker at 12 o’clock, and time is read with elegant silvery feuille or leaf-style hour and minute hands. The minutes are relayed on an inclined flange which gives the dial additional depth. The brand’s traditional winged hourglass logo is applied to the dial below the brand name at noon. In keeping with its classic spirit, there is not a trace of lume on the dial.
The case is identical to all the other watches in the Master Collection with its round, fluid contours, polished surfaces and relatively short lugs. Measuring 42mm, it might be on the large side for purists but is in line with contemporary dress watch sizes. Good point though, a smaller 40mm model is also available. The watch we had for this hands-on comes with a handsome matching blue alligator strap and triple-folding clasp in steel.
As we mentioned in the first sentence of this article, the automatic movement was developed exclusively for Longines by sister company ETA, both part of Swatch Group’s empire. The calibre L899 (based on ETA A31.L91) was upgraded for Longines with a slightly reduced frequency of 25,200 vibrations/hour and a longer power reserve of 64 hours. The movement can be seen through the sapphire caseback with its signed Longines rotor and a cut-out area shaped like the brand’s winged hourglass logo. The Côtes de Genève on the rotor and the perlage on the mainplate might be machine-made, but add a satisfying touch to the movement.
This Longines Master Collection Moonphase is an elegant watch for everyday enjoyment with a small twist. The addition of a moon phase complication and a pointer date add interest and will appeal to those of you with a phobia for conventional date windows. The blue sunray dial is fresh and contemporary with its discreet hour markers and uncluttered scenery. In a nutshell, a well-designed high-quality watch at a fair price.
The 42mm steel Longines Master Collection Moonphase with a sunray blue dial and alligator strap (Ref. L2.918.104.22.168) retails for EUR 2,260 or CHF 2,280. Its smaller counterpart, with a 40mm case, retails for EUR 2,190 or CHF 2,210. A stainless steel bracelet is also available, for the same price as the alligator strap option.
More information at Longines.